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«The Unadulterated Cat», Terry Pratchett и др.

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DEDICATION All right, all right. Time to come clean. Despite the fact that this book clearly states that cats should have short names you don't mind yelling to the neighbourhood at midnight, The Unadulterated Cat is dedicated to: Oedipuss They don't come much realer.

A Campaign for Real Cats

Far too many people these days have grown used to boring, mass-produced cats, which may bounce with health and nourishing vitamins but aren't a patch on the good old cats you used to get. The Campaign for Real Cats wants to change all that by helping people recognise Real Cats when they see them. Hence this book.

The Campaign for Real Cats is against fizzy keg cats.


All right, How can I recognise a Real cat?

Simple. Nature has done a lot of the work for you. Many Real cats are instantly recognisable. For example, all cats with faces that look as though they had been put in a vice and hit repeatedly by a hammer with a sock round it are Real cats. Cats with ears that look as though they have been trimmed with pinking shears are Real cats. Almost every non-pedigree unneutered tom is not only Real, but as it hangs around the house it gets Realer and Realer until one of you is left in absolutely no doubt as to its Realness.

Fluffy cats are not necessarily unReal, but if they persist in putting on expressions of affronted dignity for the camera while advertising anything with the word “purr-fect” in the associated copy they are definitely bringing their Realness into question.


Ah. So cats in adverts aren't Real?

Actually being in adverts doesn't make a cat unReal—it can't help it if someone plonks it down in some weird pyramid made of carpet and takes pictures of it peeping anxiously out of the hole—but its demeanour once there counts for a lot.

For example, if you put an unReal cat down in front of a row of bowls of catfood it will obediently choose the one made by the sponsors of the ad even if all the others haven't got sump oil on them. A Real cat, on the other hand, will head for the most expensive regardless, pull it out onto the studio floor, eat it with great pleasure, try some of the others, trip up the cameraman and then get stuck behind the newsreaders' podium. Where it will be sick. And then, when its owners buy several large tins of the wretched stuff, it'll refuse to touch it again.


Real cats never wear bows (but sometimes they do wear bow-ties; see “Cartoon Cats”).


Or appear on Christmas cards.


Or chase anything with a bell on it.


Real cats don't wear collars. But Real cats often do wear dolls' clothes, and sit there also wearing an expression of furry imbecility while their brains do a complex radar scan of their surroundings and then they take a special kind of leap that gets them out of the mob cap, dress, apron and doll's pram all in one move.


Real cats are not simply self-possessed. Nor are they simply neurotic. They are both, at the same time, just like real people.


Real cats do eat quiche. And giblets. And butter. And anything else left on the table, if they think they can get away with it. Real cats can hear a fridge door opening two rooms away.


There is some dispute about this, but some of the hardliners in the CRC say that Real cats don't go to catteries when their owners go on holiday, but are fed by a simple arrangement of bowls and neighbours. It is also held that Real cats don't go anywhere in neat wicker Nissen huts with dinky little bars on the front. Now look. Schism and debate are of course the lifeblood of democracy, but I would just like to remind some of our more enthusiastic members of the great damage to the Campaign caused by the Flea Collar Discussion

(1985), the Proprietary Cat Litter Row (1986) and what became rather disgracefully reported as the Great Bowl With Your Name On It Fracas (1987). As I said at the time, while of course the ideal Real cat eats its meals off an elderly saucer with remnants of the last meal still crusting the edge or, more typically, eats it off the floor just beside it, a Real cat is what you are, not what is done to you. Some of us may very well feel happier carting our cats around in a cardboard box with the name of a breakfast food on the side, but Real cats have an inbuilt distrust of white coats, can tell instantly when the vet is in prospect, and can erupt from even the stoutest cardboard box like a ICBM. This generally happens in dense traffic or crowded waiting rooms.

Despite the bad feeling caused by the Great Bowl With Your Name On It Fracas mentioned above, we should make it clear that Real cats do eat out of bowls with PUSSY written on the side. They'd eat out of them if they had the word ARSENIC written on the side. They eat out of anything.


Real cats catch things.


Real cats eat nearly all of everything they catch. A Real cat's aim is to get through life peacefully, with as little interference from human beings as possible. Very much like real humans, in fact.


Can I be pedigree and a Real cat too?

Of course you can't. You're a human.


The cat, I mean.

Ah. A thorny one, this. Logically, simply knowing your great-granddad's name should not be a bar to enjoying the full rich life, but some of the Campaign's more committed members believe that a true Real cat should be in some doubt as to its own existence, let alone that of its parents.

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